Sex education film aimed at teenage boys, with the coach as authority figure and teacher.
Sex education film geared for teenage boys. Deals with sexual organs, masturbation, wet dreams, and other male issues. The coach is the authority figure and teacher.
Prior to the period of frankness that began in the mid-1960s, relatively few sex education films were actually produced in the United States. Most of these films concentrated on the physiology of sex and reproduction and were replete with animated "plumbing" diagrams. It was unusual to show children speaking relatively freely about sexuality, and because of the necessity of educating girls about menstruation, more addressed girls than boys. As Boys Grow, produced in the relatively liberal San Francisco Bay Area, presents regular boys asking regular questions and contains frank discussion of such topics as nocturnal emissions.
Unlike Molly Grows Up, staged in the midst of the nuclear family, As Boys Grow shows sex education for boys as a team effort supervised by a fatherly coach figure. Although it might not seem unusual today, the achievement of this film seems to me to be the way that it naturalizes sexuality and creates an open atmosphere where all questions, no matter how misguided, draw serious adult attention. The gym was safe territory for sexual discussions and the coach a noncontroversial facilitator. And the boys seem to speak very openly:
"Say, you know something?"
"I had a wet dream last night."
"Wet dream? What's that?"
"Oh, you know, when sperm comes out of your penis."
"Yeah. Sort of a sticky stuff...."
Apparently the gym is a safer place for sexual discussion than within the family, and we get a strong sense that Fifties men were supposed to learn about sex in and around the gym while Fifties women worked it out with their mothers. One boy, in fact, says his father "never says much about anything" relating to sex. One might read this film as a tacit admission that the family can't take care of all its members' needs Ñ that children sometimes need to go beyond their parents for grounding in certain complex areas. This admission would make the film a radical statement for the Fifties.
As Boys Grow also differs from other sex ed films (and most strongly from those directed at girls) by admitting specifically that sex is linked with pleasure. It speaks explicitly of sexual excitement, of erections and the "hard penis"; and addresses male masturbation without mystery. While girls' films (like Molly Grows Up) focus on menstruation to the exclusion of sexual pleasure and speak of coping with the physical preconditions of gender rather than coming to terms with desire, As Boys Grow admits the existence of pleasure and its gratification. Following the liberal line that was emerging at the time, Coach states "Sometimes you hear that masturbation affects your mind or your manhood. It isn't true. For kids your age, it's just...something normal."
If you believe in symbolism, the girls get to act out a little at the end of he movie. Two of the boys ask two girls out on a swimming date. Standing on the dock, one boy pushes a girl into the water. The second girl pushes the boy in after the first girl, stands triumphantly on the dock for just a moment, and then jumps in herself.
September 20, 2016 Subject:
What Some of Those Boys Are Really Thinking
"Hey coach...that penis you drew there... it looks like a sausage. How come mine looks more like a cotton ball?"
My friend Joe told me that those ...what are they? tes-ti...cles?..yeah..he told me those were depth regulators having to do with having to take a pee (true story here).
August 27, 2014 Subject:
Imagine a Jr. High or High School coach instructing a bunch of precious snowflakes today on the finer points of masturbation. He'd be whisked away to a jail cell so fast it would give him a nosebleed, and his career in education would be over. "What're you in for?".
May 20, 2011 Subject:
"I had a wet dream last night."
Who the hell would say that to someone? It's like saying "I just murdered 3 people and buried their bodies in the desert. Wanna see the video?" You just don't say that to people.
November 9, 2010 Subject:
DEFINITELY progessive for 1957!
(Hope that this FINALLY gets me a printed review!)
When they said PENIS....I knew the ref from the coach (no pun intended..ref,coach) was coming..but NOT my laughing OUT LOUD!
August 15, 2009 Subject:
Informative and well done
"As Boys Grow" is a very good 1957 educational film for the early teen years.. It still holds up after so many years. The script is informative and intelligently written.
August 13, 2009 Subject:
Amazingly Frank, sadly even for today
I remember seeing a film similar to this about 1968 called From Boy To Man. Of course the boys saw it separate from the girls (who got to see a Disney film sponsored by Kotex-seriously!). Anyhoo, THIS film goes further to describe sexual activity ie masturbation and intercourse than our film ever did.
It's sad how things have regressed IMO. Didn't one of Clinton's Surgeon Generals have to resign because in the wake of AIDS she suggested masturbation was safer? That's sad. Really sad. But then teachers in some schools in my state were forced by law to put stickers on science books stating that evolution was just a theory. How we seem to have stepped back in time. Bet our parents never thought America would be more uptight in 2010 than it was in this honest, very innocent film. PS: But Why WAS 'Coach' just carrying around charts of the female reproductive system at 'just the right moment?" Hmmm... (LOL)
January 18, 2009 Subject:
Lost in the Fifties
I was 15 in 1957, when this film was made. I was a student at the newest public high school in my city, and it had the most advanced, up to date curriculum available at the time except for any form of sex education. Being in the "bible belt" part of the country, sexuality as subject matter in schools was strictly taboo.
All that having been said, for years I was haunted with the fear of blindness or mental incapacity due to frequent masturbation. That fear and other phobias based on my sexuality could have been prevented from ever occurring had open discussions about male/female sexuality been permitted in public schools of that era.
September 13, 2008 Subject:
Bump In The Night!
I Was Told In Jr. High That I Would Go Blind For Constant Weenie Whippin'.......So I Quit & Got A Blind Girl To Do "IT" For Me!.....Mama Did'nt Raise No Fool!
April 5, 2008 Subject:
Better Sex Ed Through Unintentional Humor
Sure, you almost have to laugh at the unlikely situations and forced dialogue in As Boys Grow (Say, you know something? I had a wet dream last night), but the core of what this film offers is exactly what sex education ought to be.
It is absolutely factual and accurate, not vague, evasive or preachy. Conspicuous in its absence, of course, is any mention of even the existence of birth control or sexually transmitted disease thereby sparing the audience the usual brain dead make believe about abstinence.
Instead, it hammers home two points which really should be stressed: theres no set timetable for puberty, and theres no normal body type.
The missing birth control and STD components aside, this would be an effective sex education tool in schools today. I dont mean a film like this, I mean this film. Think about it. Instead of being put to sleep, students would be busting up laughing at it meanwhile the accurate information would fly in under the radar.
May 5, 2006 Subject:
Interesting To Note
That the High School coach is the mentor of sex education for these kids. Seems that the children's parents should be responsible for this task, but this was produced in a period where parents just didn't talk about such things to their kids, and the PTA's probably insisted that the coach be a third party or surrogate parent.
In this day and age, knowing what we now know about people who's professions bring them into close contact with children, this film would more than likely still remain the most trusted source of carnal knowledge.
March 25, 2006 Subject:
Never had the movie, just a book
We never had a nice laid back movie like this to watch in sex ed class, just a weird book to read. Much better in a movie.
March 16, 2006 Subject:
Time..keeps flowing like a river
Kids back then used to look forward to diff stuff (hince the reason why they didn't do crap back then)
The teacher is strange. But then again so were these films!
5/5 for laughter and listening with friends while doing an MST3K style review.
September 11, 2005 Subject:
Was I ever that young and innocent?
I found myself smiling at the end of this film, the innocence of kids, still more interested in sports and simple fun than in "doing it". Sweet, but not cloying. Pity about the acting, but really, could any of us have managed as well at that age, considering the subject matter? I would never have been able to get most of those lines out!
I wish they had used this film for "sex ed" when I was in school. It would have certainly cleared up a few things when I was that age. We got the egg-fertilization-with-incomprehensible-diagram class (what? mention masturbation in a Texas school, are you crazy?). Like the diagrams in this film, but without the clear, concise explanation. Based on those, I ended up with the conviction that women had their ovaries outside their bodies, like testicles, only higher. That's probably why I went gay, actually. That and the fact that I was ridiculed mercilessly because I had a full chest-full of hair and all the related pubescent accoutrement at age 12, which made me a freak to all the other 12 year old boys (I was an early bloomer - bald spot started at 14, too). But enough about my puberty...
Can you imagine what would happen in today's schools to the teacher who showed this film to a class without showing it to every child's parents beforehand and getting written authorizations, notorized and filed with the state first? I can hear the storms of controversy now - "You told my kid WHAT??? I'll sue this school for every penny it's got!!" "What's the idea of telling my boy that masturbation is normal, you pervert?"
Did I mention that prolonged exposure to humans has made me cynical? I've noticed that they have that effect on people.
February 13, 2005 Subject:
I like how the guy mowing the lawn says, "Hey, you know what? Last night I had a wet dream!" This film was pretty radical for the 50s, telling the kids masturbation was normal. All these kids deserve Academy Awards for keeping a straight face.
November 28, 2004 Subject:
Boys have penis's
I love the scene where the coach is explaining about how a man ejaculates after he has an erection and a shy student raises his hand to ask "that doesnt happen everytime does it?".
August 23, 2003 Subject:
As Boys Grow
This 50s sex-ed film is very straightforward and informative about puberty and sex. It even coversÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂare you ready for thisÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂhow the sperm gets into the uterus! Thus, it was probably never shown in the vast majority of American classrooms. A friendly high school track coach answers any and all questions about sex and stuff that members of his team fire at him, even bringing along helpful, though not inappropriate, visual aids to some practices. He never even hints that sex is evil, does not mention any horrible diseases the guys could get from it, and tells them that masturbation is "normal at your age" and will not lead to blindness or sterility. Therefore, it is pretty safe to assume that he was fired at some point by some of the boys' parents. Such healthy and informative sex education has never been tolerated in the schools, not even today, making this film a real curiosity.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
June 14, 2003 Subject:
How stupid are these kids! 14 years old and they don't know how to masturbate?
By that age they should have been wacking off to their mom's fashion mags for at least 2 years!
I was waiting for Coach to whip it out and demonstrate, now that would have been educational!
"C'mon boys, let's all stand in a circle and see who can elaculate first!"
May 22, 2003 Subject:
Extremely liberal for the time period
When I first downloaded this video, man was I ready for some really dated, antiquated view of sexuality replete with warnings, admonishments and condemnations. However, I was in for quite a surprise.
Instead the video is surprisingly honest and informative. Presentation is straightforward, and it addresses taboo topics such as masturbation in a positive light -- a topic on which a US surgeon general lost her job in the mid 1990's when she commented upon it and a topic not even mentioned when I had sex eduation in the early 90's.
It loses a star because the boys are simply too naive for their ages (12-15 or so), some of the conversations sound stilted, nd because, at times, the coach DOES seem a little too chummy with the boys. All in all though an excellent ephemeral film for downloading. Even modern sex education could certainly borrow a page from its book.
February 18, 2003 Subject:
Straight talk about sex
Living in this day and age of pedifiles, I was waiting for the coach to start hitting on one of the boys. But there's no such nonsense here. The Coach does a great job as a surrogate father teaching the boys on his team about human reproduction and male sexuality. This film would have come in very handy a few years ago when I gave my son "the talk." The information is presented in a very straight forward, non-judgemental way. Despite a little campiness, this film can still be a valid tool to teach kids about sex. Worth watching, especially for parents.
February 3, 2003 Subject:
very open and honest for its time
This film was way ahead of its time. It deals with sex in a very open and honest way without shying away from the more sensitive topics. I was particularly impressed with the way it talked about masturbation, considering how old the film is. While the acting isn't brilliant (but I think that adds to its charm) this is an interesting and, at times, quite amusing film. Watch out for the dialogue about wet dreams!
December 31, 2002 Subject:
Yeah, but why?
Gonzo sex ed film starts out in the most uncomfortable way possible. Don't you think the coach is a little TOO chummy with the boys? His talking to the audience about "filling out" just makes for some high weirdness. Plus, having some of the pre-teen boys shirtless makes it worse. After the first 10 minutes though, it turns into a pretty standard sex ed film. Worth watching then for the first 10.
September 19, 2002 Subject:
Having just watched Molly go through her first period, and the solemnity with which this event was treated, I was really surprised at how honest and open "As Boys Grow" was for its time. While the acting or the naivete of the boys may seem a bit unrealistic now, the film still gets high marks for its frankness and completeness.